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NZ & Australian East Coast Travel Guide - Flights, Hotels, Tours & Tips

During my trip visiting New Zealand and the east coast of Melbourne, I thought I’d share some reviews & info of who I flew with, where I stayed, how I travelled to & from the airport, tours or attractions I attended, and maybe some tips or good shopping spots (for guys not that . . . → Read More: NZ & Australian East Coast Travel Guide – Flights, Hotels, Tours & Tips

VIC, Melbourne - Chin Chin #2

Chin Chin - Pad Thai

Once again I was fortunate to gain a seat at Chin Chin after my initial dinner choice was full up. I was really looking forward to trying some of the other dishes after yesterday’s excellent experience. Unfortunately tonight’s dining wasn’t up to the same standard as yesterday from a food point of view. The suckling pig pancakes had a lovely freshness and the succulent pork was tasty but it didn’t create the same kind of enjoyment as Peking duck pancakes. Maybe some more sauce would have made a big difference. The pad thai wasn’t that great as it lacked the sweet element which is crucial to the dish. There’s a generous serving and I really loved the juicy moist prawns, the crunch of the chopped peanuts, moisture from the cucumber, the tenderness of the noodles, and the freshness from the coriander. As a whole, it didn’t live up to the expectations of a pad thai. I’m really shocked at the change in consistency. Maybe I picked the two dud dishes on the menu because yesterday’s experience left me very impressed. . . . → Read More: VIC, Melbourne – Chin Chin #2

VIC, Melbourne - Mamasita

Mamasita - Ceviche De Yukaton

Mamasita is well recognised as an excellent moderately price eat on Urbanspoon and after a slightly rushed lunch I can see why. I would have like to tried some dessert but from the delicious fresh ceviche, the extremely flavour packed tacos, and the fresh cactus salad, the simplicity of Mexican cuisine shines through. The flavours of each dish are carefully controlled and the freshness is allowed to shine in the ceviche and salad, while the spice mix in the taco filling is flavour packed and carries a slight bite. The salsa helps cool things down. Another place in Melbourne with a casual vibe, friendly service, delicious flavour packed food. . . . → Read More: VIC, Melbourne – Mamasita

VIC, Melbourne - La Parisienne Pâtés

La Parisienne Pates - Rabbit Pie & Chocolate Eclair

A place like this deli / café epitomises Melbourne. A place selling lovely produce, delicious food, excellent friendly service. This isn’t a full blown café with a menu. It’s more a deli selling cured meats and all things French, like French pastries, tarts, and quiches. Yet for the pastry items, you can dine in and have them warmed up. You just don’t get the warmed up item like the rabbit pie I ordered, but the food is served on a plate, with cutlery and a serviette, and also with beetroot relish which went perfectly with the delicious rabbit pie. Likewise, same treatment with the chocolate éclair, it also came with a dollop of Chantilly cream which is definitely needed. A glass and bottle of water are provided along with excellent friendly service. You get a lot more than just the items you’re ordering. The items I ordered were perfectly paired with the extras I wasn’t expecting which made the food far more enjoyable. . . . → Read More: VIC, Melbourne – La Parisienne Pâtés

VIC, Melbourne - Chin Chin

Chin Chin - Coconut Sago & Sweet Corn Ice Cream

I was fortunate to grab a seat at the hugely popular and very busy Chin Chin. There’s large queues and long wait times to try the various dishes on the extensive menu. The place is buzzing and there’s lots of very busy staff where ever you look. I loved my small entrée of Miang which just had delicious flavours in the two mouthfuls. Excellent balance of Asian flavours – sweet, sour, acidity. The beef rending was extremely tender, generous, and absolutely flavour packed. The spice mix just oozed flavour, carried intensity and a slight chilli kick, but was best enjoyed with the steamed rice. The dessert was just fantastic. Soft, creamy, fresh, crunch. A great balance of flavours. After eating these meals you know the chefs have clearly got some skill in delivering perfectly executed flavours. I’m impressed. . . . → Read More: VIC, Melbourne – Chin Chin

VIC, Melbourne - Belle's Night Lunch Diner

Belles - Southern Fried Chicken

Along Gertrude Street are a number of restaurants and we chose the American themed Belle’s Night Lunch Diner. I ordered the southern fried chicken which came with a decent serving, had a lovely light crisp batter but lacked the Caijin spice mix I was expecting. The slaw was really delicious though and the meal was filling. Nice service in a more modern styled diner in a relaxed atmosphere. . . . → Read More: VIC, Melbourne – Belle’s Night Lunch Diner

VIC, Melbourne CBD - Cumulus

Cumulus Inc - Smoked Salmon, Sorrell, Dill & Grapefruit Juice

Unfortunately a changed menu left me with little choice to the dish I really wanted. That said, there’s lots of choice on the menu, it’s just that since I don’t like eggs, there wasn’t an item on the menu that I really wanted. I chose the smoked salmon on toast and received a decent amount of smoked salmon which isn’t cheap. With a lovely horseradish, some greens and dill on top of a lovely thick piece of toast, it was a good meal. I liked the fresh grapefruit juice but thought the $27 bill was rather steep (I realise there’s probably a surcharge for the ANZAC Day holiday). Obviously a highly popular place. . . . → Read More: VIC, Melbourne – Cumulus

VIC, Melbourne - Hofbrauhaus

Hofbrauhaus - Weisswurst

This German pub certainly is buzzing with lots of people enjoying themselves on a late night in Melbourne. There’s a great range of German dishes on the menu and I chose the Speck Kasepatzle which is like a carbonara, but a German version. Small flat soft tender pieces of pasta immersed in a rich creamy cheese sauce with herbs and a mild and not salty speck. Delicious but very rich. I ate this along with two German sausages, weisswurst, which were very tender and had a light herbed flavour. This was also enjoyed with a sweet mustard and a lovely freshly baked pretzel which wasn’t salty. A delicious generous meal giving me a taste of Germany. . . . → Read More: VIC, Melbourne – Hofbrauhaus

VIC, Melbourne - Gelato Messina

Cafe Messina - Various Gelato Flavours

With an array of flavours and some interesting combinations, there’s something to suit your taste buds when it comes to a scoop or two of gelato. I chose passionfruit in a cup (cone also available) and it was soft, smooth, full of passionfruit flavour, a real freshness, and the seeds are included for crunch. So delicious, the closest thing to gelato I ate in Rome. . . . → Read More: VIC, Melbourne – Gelato Messina

VIC, Melbourne - Adriano Zumbo Pâtissier

Zumbo - Cakes Display

I’m such a fan of patisseries and seeing the amazing creations of Adriano Zumbo on MasterChef led me to make a special trip to one of his stores to try some of these wonderful creations. Looking at the display cabinets will leave you wondering what to choose as your eyes are immediately drawn to all kinds of creations and your mouth starts salivating. I chose a Pollock flight which was delicious, as too the maccaron and the pipeto. The beauty of his creations is they just don’t taste delicious, they look visually appealing not just on the outside, but even the inside. The Pollock flight once cut open, looks exactly like a fresh coconut – a bright white shiny flesh. How he manages to create effects like this is beyond me. . . . → Read More: VIC, Melbourne – Adriano Zumbo Pâtissier